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Disney’s new vision for ESPN might include part ownership by the NBA, NFL

The Disney Plus logo in the middle of orange and beige circular shapes.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Disney wants to transition ESPN from linear TV to streaming — and the NBA and NFL might be the partners that help the company do that. According to CNBC, Disney CEO Bob Iger and ESPN leader Jimmy Pitaro held talks with both leagues about bringing them on as minority investors in the sports network.

Sources tell CNBC that ESPN spoke with the NFL and NBA about a “variety of new partnerships and investment structures.” That could involve either sports league owning a stake in ESPN, which could help bolster the package of exclusive content on Disney’s vision of a streaming-only version of the sports network.

In an interview with CNBC last week, Iger hinted at selling some of Disney’s linear TV assets like ABC but noted sports content on ESPN…

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